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Official Review by Paul Baker, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
The Silvio O. Conte Forum is the on-campus home of the Boston College men's and women's basketball and hockey teams. The facility was named for Boston College alumnus and United States congressmen Silvio O. Conte. Built perpendicular to Alumni Stadium Conte Forum shares a bank of luxury boxes with the football stadium.
The Boston College Eagles have been a member of the ACC since 2005, having previously played as a founding member of the Big East Conference. Varsity basketball has been played at BC since 1904. Over their history, the Eagles have qualified for the NCAA tournament 18 times, advancing as far as the Elite Eight three times (1967, 1982 and 1994).
The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:
Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
The menu at Conte Forum does not stray far from your arena basics, but it does offer some good value for hungry Eagles fans.
Stands are located on either side of the arena, organized by their contents. Stands feature hot dogs along with a wide variety of snacks, or Papa Gino's pizzas. Snack offerings include pretzels, cotton candy, apple slices, veggies with dip, candy and assorted ice cream treats. Portable stands scattered around the concourse offer gourmet flavored popcorn and assorted wraps for fans looking for other options. If looking to feel the family while visiting Conte Forum, combo meals consisting of four hot dogs and two sodas, or two pizzas and two sodas are sold for $16.
Alcohol is not sold at this on-campus facility. Coca Cola products are featured, both in fountain and bottled varieties.
There are souvenir stands located on either sideline which sell a good variety of Boston College memorabilia. The Eagles' mascot, Baldwin, is featured here.
The atmosphere at Conte Forum is entirely dependent on the current fortunes of the basketball team. When a marquee ACC opponent such as Duke or North Carolina visits, the building fills to capacity and the atmosphere is electric. Otherwise, Conte Forum is only half-full, and the atmosphere is decidedly less exciting.
The intimate seating of Conte Forum ensures that fans are right on top of the action. When the building is full, it can get really loud here. Unfortunately, when a marquee opponent is visiting Boston College, it is likely to get just as loud for the visitors as for the home team.
All the elements fans have come to expect at a big-time college basketball venue can be found at Conte Forum. Slick, well-produced video montages and choreographed production pieces are intertwined with more traditional aspects including the BC pep band, cheerleaders, dance team and drum corps. Contests are held during play stoppages, and the student section remains standing throughout the action. They aren't the most vocal group you will come across, but those students who fill out the student sections are enthusiastic.
When visiting Conte Forum, be sure to take a walk around the arena and check out the history on display all around. Banners honoring tournament teams and legendary players hang from the banners. The Varsity Club, Boston College's Hall of Fame, is located on the west end of the arena, with displays of Eagle memorabilia located in several trophy cases on the east end. Displays honoring Eagles who have moved on to the NBA, NHL, and WNBA line concourse walls.
The Boston College campus is located in the Chestnut Hill section of the suburb of Newton, Massachusetts, about six miles west of downtown Boston. Newton is a very well-to-do town which frequently ranks near the top of any "best place to live in America" list. The campus is fairly self-contained, but there are several areas near campus where you can shop or eat, several of which are within walking distance of the campus.
In the immediate vicinity of Boston College your best bet is to head to Cleveland Circle, about a 15 minute walk from the BC campus, where you will find, among other places, Eagle's Deli, which has been featured on several Travel Channel shows for its massive hamburger challenges. There's no wonder that it remains a favorite of Boston College students.
Streets in this area are frequently congested and busy, so be careful navigating the area around campus. Fans visiting the area during months when the weather is cooperating may choose to spend some time down at the Chestnut Hill Reservoir. It's a favorite place for walkers or joggers, and there isn't a better spot to be in the fall or spring. From the shores of the reservoir you get a view of downtown Boston in the distance. For those fans interested in a faster paced environment, head downtown towards those tall buildings, there is more than enough going on there to keep anyone busy.
Attendance at Eagles games fluctuates wildly depending on the opponent. When a ranked opponent comes to town, the building fills to the rafters. Otherwise, the team struggles to fill the arena even halfway. Overall, Boston College averages just over 4,000 fans per game at the Conte Forum. This is by far the lowest attendance in the basketball-mad ACC. It's not unusual to see visiting fans outnumber home fans at the Conte Forum.
Despite its location in the suburbs, the neighborhood around Boston College shares many of the same access issues as does its big-city neighbors. Anyone who has tried to navigate the crowded, crooked streets of greater Boston by car can tell you how difficult driving in and around the area can be. If you are visiting from out of town, your best bet is to find a copilot who knows their way around town.
Most native Bostonians will tell you that the best method for getting around Boston is to take public transportation, known in these parts as the "T." The Boston College campus is well-served by public transportation. The Green Line's B train terminus is located on Commonwealth Ave., right across the street from the Boston College campus. The Green Line's C train stops at Cleveland Circle, a 15 minute walk from campus. The Green Line's D train stops at Reservoir Station and Chestnut Hill, both within a 15 minute walk from campus. Boston College operates free shuttle busses that pick up riders from points around town, including these T stops. The complete shuttle schedule can be viewed here. For more information on the T, check out the MBTA website.
For those who insist on driving, Boston College can be reached without actually entering into the city. If driving from the north or south, take Interstate 95 (also known as Rte. 128) to exit 24 (Rte. 30-Commonwealth Avenue). Follow this road about 5 miles, and you will find the Boston College campus on your left. If driving from the west, take Interstate 90 (the Massachusetts Turnpike) to exit 17. Follow Center Street to Commonwealth Avenue, and follow that for a mile and a half to the BC campus. The area around Boston College is quite scenic, with a suburban feel, but traffic can be very heavy at times.
Once arriving on campus, there are two parking garages located a short walk from the arena (more information is available here). Fans can enter Conte Forum on either side of the arena. The seating bowl is divided into a lower level, consisting of individual seats, and an upper level, consisting of bleachers. Sight lines are excellent throughout the building. There is a single concourse that circles the building. When a large crowd is present, this concourse can get crowded, but navigating Conte Forum is generally pretty easy.
Boston College utilizes variable pricing for their home games at the Conte Forum, with price levels determined by the opposition and day of the week of any particular game. Tickets range in price by level and location. Prices for Eagles basketball games have actually decreased for the 2016-17 season, with tickets for weekday games starting at ten dollars, and weekend games topping out at $50. While Boston College tickets are pricier than other local schools, BC's membership in the ACC means that top ranked opponents visit Chestnut Hill annually.
Parking at Boston College basketball games is free of charge. I will give you a minute to take that in. Free parking. In Boston. Concessions are priced similarly to other minor league and college venues in the area. Going to a game at Conte Forum provides local basketball fans the opportunity to see some of the country's best college basketball teams at affordable prices.
The sense of history at Conte Forum earns the venue extra points. On one end of the arena is the Varsity Club, Boston College's Hall of Fame. Listed here are the names of over 400 of the finest student-athletes to represent Boston College in their 31 intercollegiate sports. Fans will be sure to find familiar names from the NBA, NHL and NFL.
On the other end of the arena are several trophy cases filled with championship relics from Boston College's long and storied athletic tradition. Banners honoring Eagles teams' accomplishments in basketball and hockey hang throughout the arena, both from the rafters and along the concourse. Pictures of every BC alum to play in the NBA and WNBA are featured on a display along the concourse.
A final extra point is awarded for the picturesque Boston College campus. If visiting in the fall or spring, take some extra time to explore the sights. Of course, downtown Boston and all its attractions is only a short subway ride away.
The Conte Forum, while starting to show its age a bit, remains a solid place at which to catch some quality college basketball. Its smaller size and intimate seating bowl ensures excellent vantage points throughout the facility, and when the building is full, it can get pretty loud here. There are only a handful of schools in all of New England that can attract top national teams, and with their membership in the ACC, Boston College is one of them.
Follow Paul Baker's stadium journeys on Twitter @PuckmanRI.
Member Review by jonah
The basketball program at Boston College has seen its share of up and down years, yet consistently seems to challenge for an NCAA tournament berth. While it hasn't been a serious contender since the Jared Dudley days, with the arrival of new coach Steve Donahue in 2010, things are looking up for the Eagles. Playing in the ACC means that a slew of top teams come to Chestnut Hill every year, resulting in some can't-miss matchups. Conte Forum, home of the Eagles since 1988, doesn't offer much beyond the typical stadium experience. If you're there for the basketball, you'll find it's just fine. But if you're looking for a unique stadium experience, there's simply not a whole lot to offer.
Member Review by Kristospherein on Jan 31, 2012
Just an average place to see a game. I would go again just to see the beautiful campus.
Member Review by puckmanri on Feb 08, 2015
The Silvio O. Conte Forum is the on-campus home of the Boston College men’s and women’s basketball and hockey teams. Built perpendicular to Alumni Stadium, the building was named for Boston College alumnus and United States congressmen Silvio O. Conte.
The Boston College Eagles have been a member of the ACC since 2005, having previously played as a founding member of the Big East Conference. Varsity basketball has been played at BC since 1904. Over their history, the Eagles have qualified for the NCAA tournament 18 times, advancing as far as the Elite Eight three times (1967, 1982, 1994).
Member Review by sportsroadtrips on Feb 24, 2016
Great venue for hockey but man, they need to draw fans for hoops. So much history here, but it doesn't count because so little of it refers to the basketball program. The team is likely to go winless in conference play in 2016, and fans stay away in droves. Shame, because this could be a great facility with a decent crowd. Get your tix on StubHub btw, lower bowl seats for less than $10, whereas face is $30.
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